Family Life · Homestead

Early Arrival Surprise

The baby goats got to come home a little early! They were due to arrive in May, but I begged and pleaded. Finally, the breeder decided let us have them a week early. We picked them up and drove home with two goats in our truck bed.  It was quite the funny experience; however, I realize this is probably a totally normal and boring experience for “actual” farmers. They seem to be adjusting really well to their new home. The first night they cried every time we walked away. Their cries were MUCH louder than I expected. All our neighbors now know when snuck goats into the city limit. Oops!

We put up a temporary shelter for them with some pallets since our mini barn isn’t built yet. (Hopefully, its going up within the next week or so.) Finally, to get them to be quiet, I propped up some things in front of their little shed so they would be totally enclosed. They liked this set up MUCH better and were quiet the rest of their first night. Today, they are playing, munching on all the fresh tall grass in their pen, and looking very happy. Just a few hours after their arrival, they seem to be settling in perfectly!


Unbiased Review of H.R. 2527: Vaccinate All Children Act of 2019


H.R. 2527: Vaccinate All Children Act of 2019
Briefly describe the issue:

Reinhart (2020) stated that only 84% of people in U.S. say childhood vaccinations are important, down from 94% in 2001. According to GovTrack (2019), the recent trend of decreasing vaccination rates caused the 2019 measles rate to be higher than it had been in decades and creates the opportunity for other preventable outbreaks. All 50 states currently require vaccinations for children to attend school; however, 45 states allow religious or personal exemptions (GovTrack, 2019). Only five states currently allow no exemptions except for medical reasons. The issue is whether or not the federal government should require all states to remove the religious and personal exemption options from vaccination requirements, or should it be left to the state as is the status quo.

1.     Identify the Pros Identify the Cons
Proponents of federal intervention on state vaccination requirements argue that with surging rates of diseases easily prevented by vaccines, a public health crisis is being caused by the lack of strong public policy requirements (GovTrack, 2019). Pierik (2017) discussed how public questioning of vaccines leads to a decline in vaccination rates and ultimately culminates infectious disease outbreaks such as the measles outbreak in 2015, which was the first major measles outbreak in over a decade and spread throughout the US and Mexico. Shrivastava, Shrivastava and Ramasamy (2016) wrote how the outbreak had reiterated the importance of sustaining a high level of immunization coverage for vaccine-preventable disease. Infectious diseases were once the leading cause of death, but, since the creation and implementation of vaccines, they currently rank eighth (Anderson, 2015).

Childhood vaccination rates are lower in states with more permissive exemption policies (Garnier, Nedell, Omer, & Bansal, 2020). Garnier, Nedell, Omer, and Bansal’s study (2020) shows that non-medical exemption (NME) rates are negatively associated with vaccination rates for major childhood vaccinations for which mandates exist. Also, their study shows that eliminating NMEs is an effective way to reduce exemption rates overall.

Proponents insist the federal government can protect society against the threat of preventable, infectious disease by removing the state’s ability to allow religious and personal exemptions from immunization regulations (Pierik, 2017).





Opponents of federal intervention on state vaccine requirements argue that such federal mandates are an infringement on personal liberty, and the removal of a religious exemption violates the First Amendment’s freedom of religion (GovTrack, 2019). Opponents are often members of religious groups who argue that vaccinations interfere with divine providence (Pierik, 2017). Pierik (2017) described a growing anti-vaccination movement which argues that the dangers of vaccinations outweigh the benefits.

According to Dredze & Broniatowski (2015), common reasons parents give for refusing vaccinations are: fear that vaccines cause autism, concerns over toxins, beliefs about the benefits of measles to the immune system, distrust of government, distrust of pharmaceutical companies, and preference for a natural lifestyle. According to Anderson (2015), some believe vaccinating children denies that child free choice, and that the risks of infection are minimal due to advances in medicine. Another ethical concern for some is the fact that certain vaccines are grown in cell strains derived from an aborted fetus (McKenna, 2017).

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (2020) lists several incidences where vaccinations have caused harm such as the 1955 polio vaccine given to the public containing live virus and caused 250 cases of polio, the 1955-1963 simian virus 40 (SV40) contaminated polio vaccines, vaccine induced Guillain-Barré Syndrome associated with several vaccines, the 2009 H1N1 influenza vaccine that was associated with a high incidence of narcolepsy. According to the CDC (2020), there is a concern that vaccinations may have the ability to cause cancer and, although studies are reassuring, this idea has not been disproven.


2.     Summarize the bill:

H.R. 2527: Vaccinate All Children Act of 2019 is a bill currently under consideration (GovTrack, 2019). Its passage would prohibit the Department of Health and Human Services from awarding grants to public entities of a state for preventive health service programs unless the state institutes vaccination requirements on all its public schools. The bill would force all states to require each student in public elementary or secondary school to be vaccinated in accordance with the recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. According to GovTrack (2020), the only exception to this bill would be for students whose health would be endangered by vaccination in the opinion of a physician conforming to the accepted standard of medical care. The purpose of this bill is to prevent future outbreaks of contagious diseases, and it addresses the issue of whether or not federal government should remove the religious and personal exemption options from vaccination requirements (GovTrack, 2019). Variations in state vaccination regulations would be eliminated and all states would be forced to uphold the same set of federal regulations.

An example of this is in the state of Indiana which currently allows vaccine exemptions for religious reasons. The state will no longer be permitted to allow these exemptions if the bill passes. (National Conference of State Legislators, 2020). According to GovTrack (2019), the bill is in the first stage of the legislative process and is expected to be considered by committee before being sent on to the House or Senate. It is possible that even if this legislation does not pass Congress, a federal agency could enact a similar change on a national level. The Food and Drug Administration’s commissioner recently suggested that his agency might step in to introduce a federal requirement if states do not enact stricter guidelines (GovTrack, 2019).

3.     Discuss how the issue and the bill affects healthcare providers, specifically ARNPs:

H.R. 2527: Vaccinate All Children Act of 2019 is an important bill to ARNPs because they are on the front lines of promoting and administering immunizations. Whether or not the federal government should force states to eliminate vaccination exemptions is an ongoing, controversial issue, and ARNPs will encounter parents and patients with strong opposing and proposing opinions. According to William (2019), an increasing number of children in the United States are not receiving some or any vaccinations. The CDC reported that the percentage of unvaccinated children younger than 2 years has quadrupled since 2001 (William, 2019).

Balestra (2016) discusses that ARNPs, especially those working in the pediatric and family specialties, should ensure all parents are informed about both the risks of vaccine-preventable diseases and the risks and benefits of immunizations. ARNPs are required by law to discuss vaccine-associated adverse reactions and the provision of Vaccine Information Statements (VISs). The National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act requires that all healthcare providers give parents a copy of VISs before administering any dose of a vaccine (Balestra, 2016).

To deal with the issue of vaccination, the APRN should first know where they stand on the issue and look to professional organizations for guidance. According to Anderson (2015), many healthcare providers also are hesitant on the topic of vaccination. Second, APRNs should decide how they will approach parents who are opposed to vaccines. Understanding the fear some parents have as they contemplate vaccinating their child and addressing specific concerns for their child with scientific data is one approach to improve immunization rates (Anderson, 2015). Third, APRNs should understand current research regarding relevant perspectives and practices regarding immunizations and be equipped to answer questions or concerns parents have about vaccinations. According to Anderson (2015), an effective intervention is to build a trustworthy relationship with the patient and parent and be transparent with information, allowing parents the opportunity to verbalize their specific concerns in a nonjudgmental environment. Fourth, the ARNP should support long-term efforts to monitor vaccine safety by reporting to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System of the CDC as indicated (Anderson, 2015). Some practices are handling the issue by not treating patients who are not immunized. However, this approach is controversial as it leaves children without well-child or sick care (Kaplan, 2019).

The American Nurses Association’s (ANA) (2020) current stance is that all individuals should be immunized against vaccine-preventable diseases according to the best and most current evidence outlined by the CDC and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). However, the ANA (2020) supports exemption from immunizations for religious beliefs and medical contraindications. Therefore, ARNPs can support patients and honor requests for exemption due to religious beliefs with support from the ANA.

If the bill were to be passed, it would significantly impact ARNP practice in the 45 states that currently allow religious and personal exemptions. Standards of care in those states would need to change immediately and healthcare providers would no longer be able to provide exemptions for any other reason than medical. A concern is that APRNs would be faced with more requests for medical exemption. In California, after the removal of all exemptions except medical reasons, the number of medical exemptions increased from 0.2% to .07% (Kaplan, 2019). APRNs would need to fully understand qualifications for medical exemption and be prepared to face backlash from families continuing to refuse vaccination.



William, L., (2019). Role of the pediatric nurse practitioner in enhancing vaccination rates. AACN: Adv Critical Care, 30, 278–28. doi:10.4037/aacnacc2019992

American Nurses Association. (2020). Immunizations – ANA position statement. Retrieved from

Anderson, V., (2015). Promoting childhood immunizations. JNP: The Journal for Nurse Practitioners, 1, 1-10. doi:10.1016/j.nurpra.2014.10.016

Balestra, M. (2016). The antivaccine movement: Legal implication for nurse practitioners. The Nurse Practitioner, 41, 12-14. Retrieved from

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (2020). Historical vaccine safety concerns. Retrieved from

Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (2019). U.S. measles cases in first five months of 2019 surpass total cases per year for past 25 years. Retrieved from

Dredze, M., & Broniatowski, D. (2015). Understanding vaccine refusal. Pediatrics for Parents, 31, 18-19. doi:10.1016/j.amepre.2015.10.002

Garnier, R., Nedell, E., Omer, S., & Bansal, S. (2020). Getting personal: How childhood vaccination policies shape the landscape of vaccine exemptions. Open Forum Infectious Diseases, 17, ofaa088, doi:10.1093/ofid/ofaa088

GovTrack. (2019). H.R. 2527: Vaccinate all children act of 2019. Retrieved from

Kaplan, L., (2019). Preventable diseases. The Nurse Practitioner, 44, 15-16. doi:10.1097/01.NPR.0000574660.34486.a5

McKenna, K. (2017). Use of aborted fetal tissue in vaccines and medical research obscures the value of all human life. The Linacre Quarterly. doi:10.1080/00243639.2017.1375065

National Conference of State Legislators (NCSL). (2020). States with religious and philosophical exemptions from school immunization requirements. Retrieved from

Pierik R. (2017). On religious and secular exemptions: A case study of childhood vaccination waivers. Ethnicities17, 220–241. doi:10.1177/1468796817692629

Reinhart, R. (2020). Fewer in U.S. continue to see vaccines as important. Retrieved from

Shrivastava, S, Shrivastava, P., & Ramasamy, J. (2016). The 2015 measles outbreak in America: Identified shortcomings and recommendations to the health authorities. Annals of African medicine15, 42–43. doi:10.4103/1596-3519.153986






Farm Fence is Up!

The fence was a two day process and measures about 80x80ft. It will house the goats that are coming in May and all the chickens. There is talk about the possibility of a mini horse, but we will see how this goes first. The first day we spent measuring for the fence, digging holes and placing the corner posts, and pounding in each t-post. My dad came to help since we had never put up a farm fence. He brought my boys a four wheeler and that made their day! They’ve already combed some awesome trails through the woods behind our home and spent one entire day “muddin” as we called it when I was growing up in Kentucky! Outdoor life is the best life for a kid (and for grown-ups like me.)

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Day 2 was used to install my repurposed gate and stretch the wire between each corner post. This process is definitely easier with a few extra hands. My oldest son was on the four wheeler controlling the winch to stretch the fence as tight as possible. The fence looks amazing a pretty much disappears into the landscape of our yard. I never knew I could be so excited about a fence! This means it’s almost time for the baby animals to arrive! It’s been a dream to have a little land we could spend our lives on and this place is just that!

This weekend we plan to put in our garden and get the corner posts in the ground for the mini barn going inside the fenced area. Next week, we hope to start on the barn! I’ll post updates as we go along!


Mini Backyard Pine Forest


We have so many beautiful pines on our property behind our home, and they were a mess! The kids jumped in, and we spent a couple days cutting out the lower branches and dead limbs. See my husband with the saw in the bottom right photo?


It looks like a park back there and its my new favorite spot in the yard. I love when pines umbrella over head giving you the richest forest-y smell in the world!

Beyond the tree line are some gorgeous, VERY OLD trees we wanted to play in. We cleaned it up a bit and found the perfect tree for climbing! Still trying to determine what type of tree it is. Possibly sassafras? The largest sassafras in the world is in Owensboro, KY, which is a short drive from us and thought to be at least 300 years old. So, this one might be a few hundred years old too!

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Below is the future home of the fencing and shed for the baby goats arriving in May!

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If you are curious about our new home here in Indiana, here it is! Also, this is a great photo of the amazing sycamore tree!

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Come back soon for fencing and shed progress for the cute little goats!


Baby Goat Shopping

We found the sweetest little goat farm in Christney, Indiana! We loaded up and took a 45 minute drive through the country. (I don’t think I passed another car the entire way.) When we arrived, we were greeted by the sweetest lady who loved her goats like they were her children. We went out behind her barn, she called for them, and they came running through the green pasture and over the hill towards us! My kid’s jaws dropped. All the momma goats used our legs as scratching posts. Babies climbed up to eat our shirts and wanted their ears rubbed! Heart melted! I will take them all please???

We spent a little while with the Nigerian dwarf goats and picked the two babies that wouldn’t leave us alone. We are suckers for baby animals that want our attention. Literally, all hopes of picking ones with specific color patterns went totally out the window. We chose a little blue-eyed, tan and cream baby boy who was the owner’s favorite. She literally had tears in her eyes when we were walking away. This one was my kid’s favorite too. He is super brave and is immediately everyone’s best friend. Little Baby boy number two won me over with his gentle spirit. Can you tell by the picture of me holding him? He is the little brown-eyed, brown and black goat who is very loving and likes human cuddles.

We recently bought a few acres and have always wanted a few small farm animals. This is the beginning or our homestead, AKA petting zoo. The goats will come home to be with us in May. Now, its time to build the fence!

Fence progress photos to come.


With What Dignity do You Treat Them?


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Paraphrased from Mother Teresa: Do you love Jesus? Do you really often feel that thirst of Jesus? Do you hear Him saying to you, “Do you love Me in the poorest of the poor?” In the naked one, in the unloved and unwanted one? In the leprosy patient with maggots in their wounds? Those AIDS patients? With what dignity do you treat them? Do you find the suffering Christ in each one? Do you share in their suffering? Don’t forget Jesus said, “You did this to Me.” 

I would say that, for many, it is easy to feel the suffering of Jesus with aborted babies, but do we share in the suffering of those who have chosen to abort? Can you look into their eyes and love them, or are you disgusted by them? It is easy to see a poor and hungry child and feel their pain, but do you suffer with the parent that chose not to work and has brought about their own child’s hunger? Can you treat them as though they are your own kin, inviting them in and sharing a meal with them? Can you respect people that don’t respect you, or themselves, or others? I am sure you feel the pain of the AIDS patients living in third world countries, but do you suffer with the American AIDS patient who contracted the virus through a homosexual relationship?

Jesus begged and pleaded on the cross, He said, “Forgive them, for they know not what they do.” In His last moments, He was begging us to forgive people. He was deeply moved by the pain and suffering of the people that hung Him on the cross. He had mercy on the souls that were responsible for his murder. Can you imagine? Forgiving the murderer of the son of the Most High?

There are people who do and believe terrible things, and God said to love them anyway. Not just with words but with actual respect and humility. Can you go into their houses, sit down at their tables, and share meals with them? Oh yeah, and also NOT bring up your problem with them?

Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

ALL THINGS. Repeat after me: ALL THINGS. The bad things, the unspeakable things, they ALL work together for good. It’s not our job to make all the bad in the world right. Jesus is highly capable of making wrongs right when He chooses. We don’t have to carry the heavy weight of curing the world of all its problems. Am I saying to do nothing? Absolutely not. But, some of us act like we have all the answers and that it is our job to fix the world. It’s not. God never told us to fix the world, but he did tell us to love and help the sinner.

The part of Mother Teresa’s writings that spoke to me the most was the part that asked, “With what dignity do you treat them?” Let’s examine our hearts today to see what kind of dignity we can show to people who believe and act different than us.

Do you:

  • offend people to prove you are right?
  • serve people who are different that you?
  • deeply respect people you think are sinful?
  • need to prove you are right and they are wrong?
  • speak for God?
  • enjoy when they fail?
  • think sinful people are ignorant and bring about their own pain?
  • think that everything you believe makes you superior to others?

We should LOVE deeply, suffer deeply with sinners, and show them great respect. I’m not talking about that “Oh well, I can’t help if someone is offended by my honestly, or if they misinterpreted me.” Nope. Those words are usually used to justify, when you have said something you probably shouldn’t have.

So many people say things like… that person brought it upon themselves, or they deserve what they get, or they wont get my help because all they do is take, take, take. (Aren’t you glad God doesn’t say that about you?! Because He totally could!) We sometimes take the word of God, manipulate it, and use it to justify our harsh judgments and criticisms of others. I do not think that we should speak for God unless we are quoting scripture about love, worth, and healing, for example. God is probably not sharing secret truths with you that He isn’t sharing with other followers. He speaks to us all in different ways, but He will not tell me to hurt someone else with my words, not even if they deserve it. If that happens, it may have not been God speaking. Chances are, it was you.

We are living in a New Testament world. Jesus came to Earth and set an example we are to follow. He did NOT preach hellfire and brimstone. He loved, forgave, and was beyond patient and compassionate. He spoke in great parables that teach us how to be whole and complete in Him! He was an encourager, and He was graceful in all He did. Are you graceful in how you speak to others? Are you graceful when determining what content you will share on social media?

Grace means a courteous goodwill, or a simple elegance. Are you polite? Do you prefer others, even when they love something you hate?

If I know that something I share will rub people the wrong way, I probably shouldn’t post it or say it. Let’s be honest with ourselves, you know it offends people, but you think your RIGHT is the most valuable thing in the room. Your right is not more valuable than the souls you affect. There is a way to get your point across in a more humble way.

Remember God said,

“Then He will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’ They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’



Biden on Healthcare: Who’s Got the Right Idea on U.S. Healthcare Delivery?

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Democratic presidential candidate, Joe Biden, is promoting a healthcare outline that is similar to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) but attempts to improve upon several of its aspects (Laszewski, 2019). Although the ACA created some improvements in healthcare delivery, such as the expansion of care (more people received access to healthcare) and promotion of public health (global health issues), there were unsuccessful components represented by the skyrocketing premiums and deductibles. Biden outlines expanding Medicaid coverage further by making Medicaid available to all low-income consumers in every state (Laszewski, 2019). A substantial part of the expansion is the plan to remove the cap on individuals and families receiving federal subsidies, so no one pays more than 8.5% of their income on premiums. More people could actually afford their healthcare. Consistent with the ACA, Biden wants to increase budgeting for community health center development, improving upon public health initiatives.

In contrast to the ACA, Biden plans to improve upon the individual health insurance market. According to Laszewski (2019), Biden proposes the development of a public option to be marketed alongside private insurance options, giving Americans three options: Medicaid, private insurance, and public health insurance. Biden’s outline partly builds upon the ACA, making healthcare expansion even broader and further reducing the number of uninsured people. Fan, Yan, Coyte, & Yu (2019) found that public health insurance leads to better health outcomes and long life expectancies. A public health insurance option may level the playing field. Private insurance companies will be forced to compete with public prices, reducing the imbalance of coverage and provider options between people with different socioeconomic statuses (Laszewski, 2019).

Another benefit of Biden’s plan, according to Laszewski (2019), is increasing community health budgeting, which is more consistent with a population health model of care delivery rather than a medical model. Population health focuses on preventative concepts such as nutrition and lifestyle. The medical model is the traditional American way which focuses on treating disease in each individual, rather than preventing it.

HOWEVER, with all of this said, I still have a problem with Joe Biden. I will not vote for him as president of the U.S. because of his views on Planned Parenthood. But, does it not make sense that we work together on healthcare, democrats and republicans, and find a middle ground on changing our healthcare delivery system? I do not think that Biden having a bad concept in his outline (funding Planned Parenthood) means that all his ideas are bad. There are some great ideas here! We are at a standstill in our country. Although some concepts, such as abortion laws, are improving, other aspects of healthcare delivery in the U.S. have stalled. Oh, how I wish our appointed officials could sit down and find a way to move forward.

Margie Huff, RN

ARNP/FNP Student at University of Southern Indiana

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